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Michael Murray, superintendent of Jackson County Public Schools, speaks at a diversity conference for nursing educators, health-care professionals, secondary educators and community leaders held Friday, April 4, at Western Carolina University.

The conference, the first of three such annual gatherings, was titled, “Meeting the Challenge: Health and Education in Appalachia and Cherokee.” Participants explored issues connected to increasing the numbers of underrepresented ethnic minority students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds in nursing, secondary education and health care professional settings.

The event was sponsored by the WCU School of Nursing and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which awarded a $1 million workforce diversity grant to WCU to help increase the number of students from underserved rural populations who enter the nursing profession, including members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.


The 2014 County Health Rankings were released last week and saw Macon County fall in position for the third straight year to 19th healthiest county in North Carolina. In years past, Macon has been 13th and 16th out of 100 counties.

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The two entities rank almost every county in the country. The purpose of the County Health Rankings Index is to help communities create solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their communities, focusing on specific factors that they believe affect health, such as education and income, whether a person has health insurance and the quality of health care they receive.

Some of the factors that the rankings consider are the rates of death before the age of 75, air and water quality, high school graduation rates, and unemployment among other benchmarks. Officials boast that the quality of the measures produced to illustrate a county's overall health based on these factors are a sufficient tool for influencing governmental agencies, healthcare providers, community organizations, policy-makers, and the public in their overall concern for health improvements.


Mission Hospital was recently named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health AnalyticsTM, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care.

The Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals study identifies hospitals and leadership teams that provide the highest level of value to their communities, based on a national balanced scorecard. The 100 Top Hospitals balanced scorecard measures hospital performance across 10 areas: mortality; inpatient complications; patient safety; average patient stay; expenses; profitability; patient satisfaction; adherence to clinical standards of care; and post-discharge mortality and readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, and pneumonia. The study has been conducted annually since 1993. This is the sixth time that Mission Hospital has been recognized.


The Judy Moore Memorial Scholarship Endowment Committee is accepting scholarship applications for the 2014 year. The endowment is an affiliate of the N.C. Community Foundation.

This scholarship program for nurses was established in 1997 as a memorial to Judy Moore, RN who was killed in a tragic accident in 1996. A resident of Macon County, Moore was an inspiration to both nurses and patients in her role as a Community Health Nurse III and as an OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner. Since the first award in August 1998, the scholarship has been given to 28 individuals (some have been awarded funding more than one year) and almost $29,000 has been issued.


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